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Artful Dressing: The Fashion of Agnes Etherington

Start Date 21 June 2014
End Date 09 November 2014
Venue Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University
Location Kingston, Canada
Curator Carolyn Dowdell

Agnes Etherington (1880–1955) is best remembered at Queen’s University for her passionate love and patronage of art. Her contributions to the burgeoning art program at Queen’s from the 1920s to 1950s are numerous, including the gift of the Constantine Collection of northern Indigenous art, initiation of the first art course for degree credit and bequest of her own house as an art centre for the university and Kingston communities. With this exhibition, we commemorate a gift she did not anticipate: fashions from her personal wardrobe.

During her lifetime, Etherington was well known for her elegant attire. Drawn from the Queen’s University Collection of Canadian Dress, this exhibition highlights Etherington’s dresses and ensembles spanning from the early 1910s to the late 1930s. They range from very formal to casual and loungewear, including her exquisite fur-trimmed wedding gown from 1921 and the green dress immortalized in her 1950 portrait by Kingston artist Grant MacDonald. The diversity of the pieces reveals aspects of the most productive period of Etherington’s life. Together they paint a portrait of a vibrant and creative woman.